Toronto records 837 new COVID-19 cases with highest number among 20-29 age group


Toronto recorded another 837 COVID-19 cases Wednesday with the highest number of cases among young people, according to the city's top doctor. 

Of the new cases reported, 181 were among the 20 to 29 age group, the city's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa said at a news conference.

Hospitalizations among young people are also rising at noticeable levels, de Villa told reporters. The city has seen a 57 per cent rise in hospitalizations related to the novel coronavirus since November. 

As of Wednesday, 406 people with the virus are in hospital with 89 of those in intensive care.

"This is a high and worrying number," de Villa said. 

De Villa also pointed to "concerning findings" from Toronto Public Health's online Source of Infection survey, indicating that from Dec. 22 to Jan. 4, almost 32 per cent of respondents reported gathering in a home with 10 or fewer people, compared to 21 per cent who said they'd done so in the weeks prior.

The proportion of those who reported close contact with a non-household member rose to 44 per cent, compared with 30 per cent previously.

"The outcome of those decisions will emerge over the next days and weeks," she said.

As for immunizations, de Villa said she has "full confidence" that the city will meet the goal of vaccinating all long-term care residents and staff by Jan. 21.

Speaking to reporters, Mayor John Tory said 1,800 residents across city-run long-term care homes have received COVID-19 vaccinations so far. So far, 80 per cent have provided consent to be vaccinated.

Tory also addressed questions about whether the city might consider a curfew as parts of its attempts to curb the spread of the virus. 

On that, Tory said he "wouldn't rule it out" if he received advice from the city's health officials that a curfew were necessary. However fire chief Matthew Pegg, who is overseeing emergency management, said there are no active plans for one.

As of Monday, there were 125 outbreaks across the city including 73 in health care institutions, which include long-term care and retirement homes, hospitals and other such settings.

The outbreaks also included 20 in shelters, correctional facilities, group home and other congregate settings, 16 in community and workplace settings at 13 in child care settings.